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Stupid question for horse on layup

Apologies in advance for this stupid question. As strange as it sounds, I have never had a horse on extended layup until now, so when they come back - have they forgotten everything they had previously learned?

Background - 6 year old hunter prospect, imported in January, green but was going great (of course!) when he got a bone bruise in July. Had a solid left to right change, working on right to left, jumping 2’6’’ courses. He’s still on layup, but I’m hoping he’ll be able to return to work (or be cleared to go to rehab) in a few weeks.

Will he retain anything or will we be starting from scratch?


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They will remember but they will also be out of shape and possibly sproingy broncy hot depending on personality. I would ease back into it, especially as both jumping and lead change require fitness. Set up a fitness program increasing walk and then trot preferably outside the ring. Give him a good month before you expect him to do anything. Horses like humans get injured doing things they know but have lost condition for.


We will definitely have a fitness plan and thankfully, we’re not in a rush. I was more curious about how much training is retained and whether it would be a complete re-start after he’s legged up.

No. They remember everything good bad indifferent.

They may decide they cannot or do not want to do it, but that’s not forgetting!


I am betting things will be fine.
Though it some what depends on the horse.

Things that you were just starting to learn you might be a little further behind, but generally speaking a button once installed is there.


The buttons should be there! The in-progress stuff might need to be started over, but it’ll be a quick refresh timeline vs teaching it from scratch.

That said, one of my geldings likes to uninstall “steering” and “forward” after a layup or time off. He knows, but pretends he doesn’t :upside_down_face::upside_down_face:


Not a stupid question, especially for a relatively young horse!

Fear not, they won’t forget, as others have said.

My horse had a bone bruise two years ago so I sympathize with the rehab process. It takes a LOT of patience.

My advice is ride other horses if you can so you can stay fit, especially if yours is anything like mine and was VERY excited to be back in work.



Glad to hear it won’t be a complete restart! I was concerned that it would be. It’s my DD’s horse and thankfully, she’s not a junior anymore there is no pressure to be on a specific timeline. Her trainer has been finding her rides, so they won’t BOTH be out of shape - LOL! which is great!

they will retain most, but for sure the conditioning will be a factor. i had one needed a few weeks for stone bruise. he had just learned his changes. one wasn’t great. after rest he offered both and they were pretty automatic. i never had to “school” them again.
time off for injury is hard because you lose so much conditioning, but it can have a silver lining.


That’s good to hear! Conditioning will be a issue for sure as he’s been on and off complete stall rest since mid July. We recently added a long term sedative, so that with ace is making the hand-walking slightly less explosive!